GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial

What are Google Analytics 4 events?

An event is the user’s interaction/activity with a web page element embedded on a website and/or mobile app.

Following are examples of web page elements: video, image, button, form, scroll bar, external link, lightbox etc

Following are the examples of users activities that can be tracked as events in GA4:

      • Log-ins
      • Clicking on a button etc
      • Scrolling down the page
      • Downloading a file
      • Loading of a page in the browser window (pageview) etc.

Any user interactions with content from a web page or a screen load can be tracked as an event.

In the earlier legacy version of Google Analytics, every event needed to be configured separately either using the global site tag (gtag.js) or using Google Tag Manager (GTM).

But in the case of GA4, events are completely different and require a new set up since many of them come preconfigured now. Yes, you heard right!! Google Analytics 4 can log many events automatically without any additional coding or tagging.

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Types of events in Google Analytics 4

There are four categories of events in GA4:

      1. Automatically Collected Events
      2. Enhanced Measurement Events
      3. Recommended Events
      4. Custom Events

#1 Automatically collected events

These events are automatically triggered and logged (recorded) on certain pre-defined user activities.

To learn more about these events, check out this article: Automatically collected events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#2 Enhanced measurement events 

These events are also automatically triggered and logged on certain pre-defined user activities. But the events are logged only when you have enabled enhanced measurement.

To learn more about these events, check out the following two articles:

#1 What are Enhanced measurement events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#2 How to setup enhanced measurement tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#3 Recommended events

Recommended events are the events recommended by Google. They do not automatically get triggered and logged unless you manually implement them.

However for a recommended event to work correctly, you must use the exact same event name and parameter(s) as supplied by Google.

Failing to do so, Google will not recognize your event as one of their recommended events and your event may either do not work the way you want or do not get triggered at all.

To learn more about these events, check out this article: Recommended events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#4 Custom events

These are the events that you create and use. Google recommends that before you create a custom event, make sure that there is not an automatic, enhanced measurement or recommended event that already provides what you need.

Note: Custom events don’t show up in most standard reports. So you would need to use custom reporting.

You can set custom events and their parameters in two ways:

      1. Using Global Site Tag  (gtag.js) – requires hard coding on the website
      2. Using Google Tag Manager (Recommended)

To learn more about setting up custom events in GA4 via GTM, check out this article: How to set up Custom Events in GA4 via Google Tag Manager

All of these event categories can be further categorized into: 

      1. Web events
      2. App events
      3. App+Web events
      4. Android events

#1 Web events 

These are the events which are recorded only on a website.

For example: ‘file_download’, ‘page_view’, ‘scroll’, ‘video_start’, ‘video_progress’, ‘video_complete’, ‘view_search_results’ etc.

#2 App events

These are the events which are recorded only on a mobile app.

For example: ‘first_open’, ‘in_app_purchase’, ‘notification_open’, ‘screen_view’ etc

#3 App+Web events

These are the events which can be recorded across a website and mobile app.

For example: ‘first_visit’, ‘session_start’, ‘user_engagement’ etc

#4 Android events

These are the events which are recorded only on a mobile app installed on an android device.

For example: ‘app_clear_data’, ‘app_remove’, ‘app_store_refund’, ‘app_store_subscription_cancel’ etc

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The Events report in Google Analytics 4

Through the ‘All Events’ report you can do the following:

      1. See the complete list of all the logged events in your GA4 reporting view.
      2. Determine how many times each logged event was triggered.
      3. Determine the % change of count for each logged event.
      4. Determine the total number of users who triggered each logged event.
      5. Determine the % change of users for each logged event.
      6. Enable or disable logged events as conversions.
      7. Search for a particular event.
      8. Download the ‘All Events‘ report as CSV.
      9. Modify an event.
      10. Create a new custom event from an existing event.
      11. Create a new custom dimension or custom metric.
      12. Sort the ‘Event Name‘, ‘Count‘ and ‘Users‘ metrics in ascending or descending order.
      13. Get a detailed report for a logged event.

To learn more about the ‘All Events’ report, check out the article: All Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

What are the event parameters in GA4?

You can send additional information about an event in Google Analytics 4 via one or more parameters. 

There are three types of event parameters:

#1 Automatically Collected Parameters – These parameters are automatically collected by GA4.

#2 Custom Parameters – These are the parameters that you manually send along with an event.

#3 User properties – They are like user scoped custom dimensions of Universal Analytics. They are used to describe the attributes of your website/app users.

To learn more about event parameters, check out the article Understanding Event Parameters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Setting up enhanced measurement events (automatically collected)

Enhance measurement events are preconfigured events in GA4 and they can be enabled or disabled from your GA4 property.

To set up enhanced measurement tracking, check out this article: How to setup enhanced measurement tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

Event collection limits

GA4 has certain limitations on the collection of events on a per property basis. Once your event or event parameter exceeds these collection limits, they are no longer recorded by GA4.

Please keep the below limitations in mind while setting up custom events:

Item Description Limit Can I delete items if I’m close to the limit?
Distinctly named events 500 per app (Data stream) instance No
Length of event name 40 characters N/A
Event parameters per event 25 parameters Yes
Length of event-parameter name 40 characters N/A
Length of event-parameter value 100 characters N/A

Setting up event-scoped custom dimensions and metrics reporting

In the earlier legacy version, we used to pass event details as event category, event action and event label. A few additions to this were optional, like event value, and other custom dimensions.

In the case of GA 4, you can set the event scoped custom dimensions and custom metrics while setting up the event parameter in Google Tag Manager. You can then configure the GA4 console with the same parameter name you gave while setting up the custom event and it will be reflected in the ‘Events’ reporting tab.

Remember we passed ‘button_name’ as an extra event parameter while setting up a custom button click event in GTM. Now let’s configure this parameter (custom dimension) in GA4. Follow the below steps to configure event scoped custom dimension.

Step 1: Click on ‘All Events’ in GA4 reporting menu.

Step 2: Click on ‘Manage Custom Definitions’.

ga4 events

Step 3: An overlay will appear like below. Click on ‘Create Custom Dimension’.

Step 4: Enter the parameter name under ‘Event parameter name’ and custom dimension name under ‘Custom dimension name’. This is the name you’ll see in reports, so use a descriptive name. Click on ‘Save’.

Step 5: You can debug your custom parameter in real-time as well. Just click on the button on the webpage. Navigate to GA4 console and click on the ‘All Events’ tab. You should be able to see the parameter name and its value as well:

event tracking in Google Analytics 4

Modify and create events in the analytics interface

Google Analytics 4 also provides the option to modify and create events in the analytics console only. Note that you can create or modify events based on the occurrence of other events and parameters.

Modify event:

You can modify existing events. For example, if you are collecting two different events (Event Name: Button Click 1 and Button Click 2) you can modify these events under one name as simple ‘Button Click’. You can also fix typos in event or parameter names, and you can modify event names and parameters as well.

To start event modification, follow the below steps.

Step 1: Go to your Analytics 4 property and click on ‘All Events’.

Step 2: Click on ‘Modify event’.

Step 3: An overlay will appear like the one below. Click on ‘Create’.

Step 4: Enter the modification name (new event name).

Step 5: Now click on ‘Add condition’.

Step 6: Click on the parameter to define your condition. It will pop up a drop-down list with available parameters that can be modified.

Step 7: Since we are doing event name modification, I will choose the event_name parameter. Now click on ‘Operator’ where you will get another drop-down menu with different conditional operators.

In our case, we will use equals. Select ‘equals’ and in the value input box enter the first event value to modify (Button Click 1).

Step 8: Now repeat the procedure for adding the second condition. Click on ‘Add Condition’, then select ‘event_name’ as parameter, select operator as ‘equals’ and event value as ‘Button Click 2’.

Now click on ‘Create’.

Congratulations!! You have successfully modified your events. You can go to the ‘All Events’ tab and check. Now instead of Button Click 1 and Button click 2 events, there is just one ‘Button Click’ event.

Create Event:

Just like modifying an existing event, you can also create a new event from the existing events.

Let’s look at an example, suppose you already have a button click event on your home page banner and another button click event on your product category page with a promotional banner. If you want to fire a third event as ‘Promotion click’ when somebody clicks the banner button on the product page, you can use the create event function in GA4 and, based on a parameter condition, you can specify when to fire.

In this example, we are already tracking the button click event on the product page. So, we can use this condition in our parameter settings to create a new event as ‘Promotion click’

The condition will be as below:

Event: Button Click

AND

Parameter: page_title = product_page

Follow the below steps to create a new event with these conditions.

Step 1: Go to your Analytics 4 property and click on ‘All Events’.

Step 2: Click on ‘Create event’.

Step 3: An overlay will appear like below. Click on ‘Create’.

Step 4: The next steps are similar to the steps we performed while modifying the events. So, we will use the following configuration settings:

      • Custom Event Name: Promotion_Click
      • Matching Condition (Click on Add Condition)
      • Parameter 1: event_name equals ‘Button Click’
      • Parameter 2: page_title equals ‘Product_page’

Step 5: Click on ‘Create’.

Congratulations!! You have successfully created a new event. You can go to the ‘All Events’ tab and check the ‘Promotion Click’ event is appearing.

So, that is how you set up event tracking in Google Analytics 4.

Other articles related to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)

#1 GA4 Intro

  1. What is GA4 (Google Analytics 4) – The Apps + Web Property?
  2. Key Benefits of Using Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to upgrade to GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  4. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) vs Universal Analytics – What is the difference?
  5. Google Signals GA4 – See demographics (gender, age) in Google Analytics 4
  6. Understanding Google Analytics Measurement ID (GA4)
  7. Google Analytics 4 training and tutorial
  8. Using the GA4 test property

#2 GA4 Integration

  1. How to connect GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Data Studio
  2. How to link GA4 (Google Analytics 4) with Google Ads
  3. GA4 BigQuery – Connect Google Analytics 4 with BigQuery

#3 GA4 Events

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Event Tracking Setup Tutorial
  2. How to set up GA4 Custom Events via Google Tag Manager
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Enhanced Measurement Tracking Tutorial
  4. Events Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. GA4 User Properties (User Scoped Custom Dimensions) – Tutorial
  6. Event Scoped Custom Dimensions in GA4 – Tutorial

#4 GA4 Conversions

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Conversion Tracking Guide
  2. How to import conversions from GA4 property to your Google Ads account

#5 GA4 Dimensions and Metrics

  1. GA4 Metrics Tutorial with Free Google Analytics 4 Ebook
  2. GA4 Custom Metrics Tutorial
  3. GA4 Dimensions Tutorial
  4. GA4 Custom Dimensions Tutorial

#6 GA4 Ecommerce

  1. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Ecommerce Tracking via GTM – Tutorial

#7 GA4 Specialized Tracking

  1. Cross Domain Tracking in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Setup Guide
  2. GA4 Site Search – Tracking Site Search in Google Analytics 4
  3. GA4 (Google Analytics 4) Scroll Tracking Tutorial
  4. How to Install Google Analytics 4 on Shopify
  5. Self-referral Google Analytics 4 – Referral exclusion GA4
  6. GA4 Data Import Tutorial

#8 GA4 filters

  1. GA4 filters – Understanding data filters in Google Analytics 4
  2. How to create and test filters in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?
  3. Exclude internal traffic in GA4 (Google Analytics 4) via IP filter

#9 GA4 Analysis Hub

  1. Analysis Hub Google Analytics – Exploration Report in GA4 (Google Analytics 4)
  2. How to use the user lifetime report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  3. How to use path analysis report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. How to use Segment Overlap Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  5. How to use the Funnel Analysis Report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#10 GA4 Advanced

  1. How to use Debug View report in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  2. Understanding GA4 measurement protocol
  3. How to create a remarketing audience in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  4. GA4 Audiences – Creating custom audience in Google Analytics 4
  5. How to build comparison (Advanced segment) in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

#11 GA4 Reporting

  1. How to create custom insights in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

Frequently asked questions about GA4 event tracking

What are events in Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

An event is the user’s interaction/activity with a web page element embedded on a website and/or mobile app. Any user interactions with content from a web page or a screen load can be tracked as an event.

How are events configured in GA4 compared to GA3?

In the earlier legacy version of Google Analytics, every event needed to be configured separately either using the global site tag (gtag.js) or using Google Tag Manager (GTM). However, in the case of GA4, events are completely different and require a new set up since many of them come preconfigured. Google Analytics 4 can log many events automatically without any additional coding or tagging.

What are the categories of events in GA4?

There are four categories of events in GA4:
#1 Automatically Collected Events
#2 Enhanced Measurement Events
#3 Recommended Events
#4 Custom Events

What are the event parameters in GA4?

You can send additional information about an event in Google Analytics 4 via one or more parameters. There are three types of event parameters:
#1 Automatically Collected Parameters – These parameters are automatically collected by GA4.
#2 Custom Parameters – These are the parameters that you manually send along with an event.
#3 User properties – They are like user scoped custom dimensions of Universal Analytics. They are used to describe the attributes of your website/app users.

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